Having been a huge fan of Mexican food all my life, I always keep canned black beans and corn in my pantry. I think you can come up with so many recipes using those two ingredients. A few examples of my all-time favorite recipes are my Quinoa Black Bean Bowl, Mexican Stuffed Peppers, and Black Bean Quinoa Tacos.
In today’s post, we are using black beans in an easy salad recipe. While I call it a Black Bean and Corn Salad, you can also think of it as a delicious summery side dish to serve with chicken, meat, or vegetarian dishes or with tortilla chips on the side as salsa.
Why Should You Make This Recipe:
This simple black bean salad is a lifesaver when you need a side dish quickly. I also love it because:
- Easy & Quick To Make: It is made by using pantry staples and fresh ingredients in just about 20 minutes from start to finish.
- It is so versatile: It is the perfect side dish to serve during all your barbecue, potluck, or picnic gatherings, but it could easily be a part of your meal prep if you want to enjoy something light for lunch during the week. Oh, and I sometimes make a batch and serve it with tortilla chips as a black bean salsa.
- Easy to customize to your liking: While my version of the black bean salad recipe I am sharing is a basic one, it is endlessly customizable to fit your dietary preferences—more on that below.
- My version of it is slightly different: While you can find many different versions of this healthy black bean and corn salad on the internet, I am confident that my version is different thanks to the secret ingredient I used in the dressing.
Ingredients You Will Need:
As with most salad recipes, you have two sets of ingredients: The dressing and the salad ingredients.
- For the Zesty Cilantro lime dressing: Gather fresh lime juice, garlic cloves, olive oil, chopped cilantro, salt, and black pepper. I also add a few tablespoons of juice of pickled jalapenos (hello secret ingredient), but that is optional.
- For the salad: Gather canned black beans, corn kernels, sliced cherry (or any fresh) tomatoes, red bell pepper, pickled jalapeno (optional), red onion, and fresh cilantro (as garnish.)
A Few Helpful Notes on The Ingredients:
- Black Beans: I used canned beans to make the process faster. However, you can always use the black beans you cooked yourself. If you want a good resource, my friend Traci’s post on How To Cook Black Beans is the one I always use.
- Corn: I used fresh corn (leftover from making Mexican Street Corn) as it is in season right now. However, you can make this salad with frozen and canned corn as well. If using frozen corn, place it in a large bowl and fill it with cold tap water. Let it sit for 10 minutes, drain and use it in the recipe. If using canned corn, I recommend using a 1 (8.5) ounce can of whole kernel corn.
- Pepper: As you can see in the pictures, I opted for red bell peppers, but any color of bell peppers would work. If you don’t mind some heat, you can swap bell peppers with jalapenos as well.
- Not a fan of cilantro? Simply omit it or use fresh parsley instead.
- Hot Sauce in the dressing: If you are a fan of spicy food, feel free to add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes in the lime vinaigrette for some heat.
- The secret ingredient (aka pickled jalapeno juice): I learned this tip at a Mexican restaurant when I visited Mexico. Their salads tasted so much more flavorful than the ones I made. I was told that they use a combination of pickled and fresh jalapenos and always add a splash of the pickle juice into the dressing. While it is optional, I think following in their footsteps you can make the Best Black Bean and Corn Salad.
How To Make
The Black Bean Tomato Corn Salad recipe has four folds:
- Make The Salad Dressing: Place all salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Alternatively, you can put everything in a mason jar and give it a shake until thoroughly combined.
- Prep the Salad Ingredients: Place all ingredients in a salad bowl (or a large mixing bowl).
- Pour the dressing over: Drizzle the bean mixture with dressing and give it a toss.
- Serve: Enjoy your visually pleasing confetti-like bean salad asap.
Make Ahead and Storage
Yes, you can. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to make this Black Bean Corn Salad in advance. I usually make it a day in advance and keep it in the fridge covered with stretch film. The time spent chilling allows all ingredients to mingle and build more in-depth flavors.
What To Do With The Leftovers?
I doubt that you will have leftovers, but if you do just place your salad in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. It will still be very good the next day.
Want to enjoy it for lunch the next day? While I usually serve this black bean vegetable salad as a side dish, if I am serving it the next day, I turn it into a delicious and filling lunch by adding a cup of quinoa or brown rice.
How Many Calories is A Serving?
This corn black bean salad recipe serves 4-6 people and each serving is around 209 calories. You can see the breakdown of the nutritional data in the recipe card below.
Whether you are serving it as a side dish for a picnic, BBQ party, or for yourself by itself for lunch, I hope this healthy black bean salad recipe will wow your friends and family and have them ask for more.
Want More Black Bean Recipes?
- Black Bean and Quinoa Tacos
- Five Bean Salad
- Texas Caviar
- Mexican Quinoa Recipe
- Stuffed Peppers Recipe
- Vegan Chili Recipe
- Cuban Black Beans and Rice – Well Plated
- Healthy Baked Tilapia with Black Bean Salsa – Give Recipe
Black Bean and Corn Salad Recipe
For The Garlicky Lime Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 or 2 tablespoons jalapeno pickle juice optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped
For The Salad:
- 2 cans 15 oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 ears of corn* shucked (or 1 8.5 oz. can Whole Kernel Corn)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved or sliced
- ¼ cup colorful bell peppers chopped
- 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion approximately ½ medium-size red onion
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Corn chips to serve with optional
- To make the dressing: Place all the ingredients in a mason jar, put the lid on and give it a good shake. Set aside. (You can make this salad a two days in advance and keep it in the jar in the fridge)
- To make the salad: Place all salad ingredients in a bowl (like I did in the photo above), drizzle with the dressing and give it a gentle toss.
- Taste for seasoning and add in if necessary. Serve.
- Can I make this salad in advance? Yes, you can. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to do that. I usually make it a day in advance and keep it in the fridge covered with stretch film. The time spent chilling allows all ingredients to mingle and build more in-depth flavors.
- How To Keep leftovers? I doubt that you will have leftovers, but if you do just place your salad in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. It will still be very good the next day.
- *Corn: You can use any type of corn you like. I shucked 2 ears of corn raw as during the summer months when corn is in season I like them raw. However, if you want you can lightly sauté it as well. If your grill is on, feel free to grill your corn after spreading it with some oil (both butter and olive oil would work). Otherwise, you can also use a can of corn. If you do so, drain and give it a good rinse before you add it in your salad as canned corn is usually packed with a lot of salt.
This post was originally published in July 2019. It was updated in May 2021 with additional helpful information and with no changes to the original recipe.